Overconfidence ‘putting Scottish homeowners at risk’

Newell Pic 2
Newell McGuiness

WE have become a nation of ‘YouTube DIYers’ according to new research from Electrical Safety First, which reveals over 2.7 million Scots would happily use online ‘how to’ videos to carry out home improvement even if they don’t have the necessary experience.

There are now over three million YouTube videos that feature DIY in the home and so it is no surprise that more people than ever before are relying on the internet for this kind of information rather than seeking the advice of a professional.

A major reason for this growing trend is that we are keen to add value to our homes. The number of people across the UK carrying out work to increase their house value has trebled in the last two years, and half of UK adults would follow YouTube instructions when undertaking this work.

But rather than adding value, Electrical Safety First’s research reveals that around one in twelve people in Scotland have caused significant damage to their property or have had to pay for costly repairs because of botched DIY after following advice found online.

Electrical Safety First is also worried that the type and availability of online instructions is putting people at risk. For example, fitting a new bathroom or rewiring a house are among the top five electrical home improvement tasks that adults would feel confident to carry out while following online advice – complicated tasks that by law should be carried out or checked by a registered electrician.

Other tasks may appear straightforward, but as more than one quarter of adults in Scotland have come across unhelpful or even incorrect instructions online before, and with DIY blunders responsible for nearly half of severe electric shocks, one wrong move or skipped instruction could have serious consequences.

So, the Charity has teamed up with SELECT, Scotland’s trade association for the electrical industry, to encourage Scotland’s “You-Tube DIYers” to think twice before they turn to the internet for advice.

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First said, “The internet is a fantastic resource and the new generation of YouTube DIYers shows just how much we have come to rely on it. But there’s only so much online videos and tips can tell you and not everyone will have the knowledge or experience to carry out more complicated tasks. Ask yourself: ‘If I have to Google this, should I really be doing it?’ If in doubt, get a professional in – it could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.”

Newell McGuiness, Managing Director of SELECT added, “It is worrying that so many people are unaware of the risks of carrying out complex electrical DIY in their homes. Choosing an electrician registered with a government approved scheme guarantees they have the skills to carry out the work and ensures procedures are in place should something go wrong. Electrical safety is not something anyone should take a gamble on – this is why we are encouraging people to use the Scottish Government’s Certification Register to find registered electricians in their area.”